In the third of our series of articles where our match reporters reflect on last season and start planning for the next, Paul Weston gives his views
Before the season started what were your hopes on what we could achieve ?
I really hoped that we could have a good Cup run and hopefully even win the FA Cup. I suppose that I hoped for a mid-table finish and, even though that is where we eventually ended, the season still feels somewhat disappointing and frustrating that we should have done so much better. I always feared that, after the Mahrez transfer saga, our season would go pear shaped and so it proved.
Given the way the season progressed from early relegation threat, to hopes of European football to then a season petering out, then throw in a couple of good cup runs, how would you rate last season overall out of 10 and why?
I would give it 6 out of 10. Our squad would have not been ready for the Europa League and it will be very interesting to see how Burnley cope. All the same- we had the chance of European football again and missed a golden chance.
Harry McGuire won the Player of the Year Awards, would he have been your choice and who else do you think deserves praise for their performances?
He was the stand-out candidate and would have been my choice too. Whilst he is not the finished article he is always positive in his play and embodies the Foxes fighting spirit. I would also praise N’didi who worked manfully in midfield, often with very little support.
What were your views on the signings made during last season ?
I will reserve judgement on Silva until he has had a proper pre-season after the transfer deadline fiasco. He looks to have the skills but is easily too easily knocked off the ball. Diabate always adds something positive when he plays but, again, is lightweight. He looks to have real potential if developed in the right way.
Which player do you think made the most progress last season and why?
It would have to be Harry Maguire. He stepped into the role in Huth’s long absence and did his best to hold the defence together over the season, especially when those around him were playing poorly.
Which player did you think underperformed the most last season and why?
I am afraid that I have rather a long list. If all players had played to their potential we could, and should, have been much higher in the table:
- · Demarai Gray: he was given a great opportunity in the team but has gone backwards and lost confidence. His passing and defensive abilities have been shown wanting.
- · Kasper Schmeichel: his form deteriorated. Crosses, corners and freekicks continued to be his weakness and his distribution became more error strewn.
- · Wes Morgan: age has sadly caught up with him and, after his injury, he seemed too slow. Would he have been selected if he had not been the captain?
- · Riyad Mahrez: after the mid-season transfer saga I felt that he underperformed. He needs to move on now but I will always remember one of the best players that has ever played in a City shirt.
- · Ben Chilwell: he took over from Fuchs for most of the season but, for me, has not improved in his defensive play.
What was your personal highlight of the season?
There were not many highlights but the win against Arsenal in May stands out because, against all expectations, we played with pace and intensity and the result was an exciting incident packed match
Moving onto next season
The main question towards the end of the season was would you keep Claude Puel to carry out the re-building obviously needed over the summer and what is behind your reasoning?
I had lost patience with the Puel style by the end of the season. The style of play was so predictable and boring- as was his interviews! However, now that the manager merry go round has started and there are few alternatives, I have changed my mind and think he should be given a chance to select his players for next season. Having said that, I fully expect that by Christmas we could be looking for a new manager all over again!
What changes do you think are necessary to improve on this year’s squad?
- · Central defender to replace Morgan
- · Left back to replace Chilwell and Fuchs (assuming he leaves)
- · Strong mid-field player who can play the right passes for Vardy. Otherwise he is left isolated. How about Drinkwater?!
- · Replacement for Mahrez
- · Support for Vardy. I am not convinced by Iheanacho as a long term solution.
A number of players went out on loan last season, are there any of those players you would like to see involved in our first team squad for next season?
No, but we need a plan B to change our style when the slow passing game is not working. Therefore a tall target man would help. I would perhaps keep Ulloa for that role or sign Rondon.
If you had a chance for a word in the owners ears, which player(s) would you be advising to sign?
Evans from West Brom.
And an extended contract for Vardy to ward off other suitors.
Any other observation you would like to make
I know that our Premiership winning season will never happen again but please can we have a return to some exciting football at the King Power! Some of the home games were just dreary and dreadful to witness.
The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation